Bemidji State to open 2011 season with pair of Michigan foes
Friday, September 2, 2011
Bemidji State to open 2011 season with pair of Michigan foes
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University soccer team officially breaks the seal on the 2011 season this weekend as it hits the road for a pair of matches that carry regional weight.  The Beavers will travel to Houghton, Mich. to battle Michigan Technological University (MTU)Saturday at 1 p.m. before making their way to Marquette. Mich. for a 1 p.m. tilt versus Northern Michigan University (NMU) Sunday.

MTU returns 17 players from a 2010 campaign during which they finished 1-10-0 overall and 5-10-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).  Sophomore forward Melanie Hoffman leads the offense.  She scored five goals last year--all of  which were game-winners--a year ago.

NMU is coming off its most successful season in school history.  Last season, the team posted an overall record of 9-6-5 and an earned a NCAA tournament bid. This year the team is 0-0-1 after a double overtime tie with University of Minnesota Duluth Thursday and is led by junior forward Amelia Johnson, who ranked second on the team in scoring in 2010 posting nine goals for 18 points.

The road trip to the Upper Peninsula will be an early-season test for BSU.  Not only will the Beavers face a pair of solid regional opponents, the trip also give BSU a chance to test its road legs, something the 2011 team will have to get used to very quickly.  Bemidji State opens the 2011 campaign playing its first eight regular season games on the road, including a Sept. 9 neutral site meeting with Colorado School of Mines.  That feat will set a new program mark for consecutive road matches to open a season, topping the 2003 team which BSU played seven road games to open the campaign.

The Beavers are coming off their most successful season in the program’s history.  The 2010 squad set a program record for wins in a season with an overall record of 14-4-1, while finishing third in the NSIC with a mark of 9-3-1 in league play.  A major key to their success a year ago was a 6-2-1 record on the road.

Bemidji State returns nine players with starting experience from the 2010 season including, the entire midfield, and back line. Senior midfielder Bri Scanlan (East Grand Forks, Minn.) and senior goalkeeper Abby Kjonaas (Fargo, N.D.) were named as NSIC Players to Watch in the 2011 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ poll.

Scanlan was an NSIC All-Academic selection a year ago.  She netted a career-high five goals, including three game-winners, in 19 games for the Beavers.  The senior came into her own down the stretch scoring three goals in the Beavers’ final five regular-season games.  She returns as the most established scorer on the Beavers’ 2011 roster having tallied nine goals (three of which were game-winners) and nine assists in her previous three seasons.

Kjonaas has gained valuable experience in spot starts throughout her career and is poised to take the team on her back in 2011 as the starting goalkeeper. A year ago she played in five games, starting four, posted a 3-0-1 record and a team-best .897 save percentage.

Head Coach Jim Stone begins his 10th season as head coach of the Bemidji State soccer team.  He has posted an overall record of 88-73-17 (.542) and is riding a streak of six season with at least a .500 winning percentage.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.